LAS visit to NAFA Library on 26 September 2014


Ever wondered how it feels like to have the tunes from Bach or Strauss played live while you are browsing the books in the library? Or to study in the library accompanied by vinyl albums from the 60s or 70s? These are some of the features from the NAFA Library that LAS members experienced during the visit on 26 September 2014.


There was a total of 22 participants during LAS visit to NAFA Library on that day. The visit started with a brief talk by Ms Carol Sim, NAFA Library’s chief librarian, about the history of the library, the enhancements made to the collection, including e-access and the renovation that it had gone through recently. A particularly interesting story was how the librarians had to digitize 7000 vintage slides within a 2-month short timeline. All the more amazing was the fact that there were only 10 staff in the library, who also had to maintain the day-to-day library duties while undertaking the digitization project!


After the brief talk, we were led for a tour around the 2-storey library by Ms Esther Choong. Our first pit stop was the “learning@lib” room, which acts as a multimedia study room when not being booked for lectures. It was located near the entrance, which also hosted the new arrival materials displayed thematically. The reception desk next to the entrance facilitates borrowing of laptops for students’ use within the library.


On the first floor of the library, we found a series of rooms which held the prized book collections. The first room, Shi Xiang Tuo room or “Old Book room”, hosted books and materials which were more than 300 years old. Next to this room was the “Celebrity room,” which contained personal collections donated by famous artists and musicians in Singapore. The last room, the “Heritage room,” hosted materials pertaining to the historical information of NAFA and the library. These rooms made up NAFA Library’s special collections and they could also be used by researchers beyond NAFA.


Upon ascending the second floor, we were immediately greeted by the Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asia (SEA) Arts room. This room, which was one of its kind in Singapore, hosted more than 12,000 materials related to the arts scenes in Singapore and other Southeast Asia countries. Some of the materials inside the room were rare and highly sought after by researchers.


Aside from the SEA Arts room, the library also held the reference collection, a consultation room, discussion rooms, and an alfresco study area on the second floor. Some of the materials inside the reference collection were expensive and rare, thus, they could only be used inside the library. At the media collection, we also chanced upon a vinyl player and a gift collection of records which could be played anytime the room is opened.


Towards the end of the tour, we gathered again at the open stage area on the first floor for a vocal recital “treat”, courtesy of NAFA Vocal Department. The recital lasted for more than half an hour, and we were all awed by the vocal performances of the NAFA students. The LAS visit to NAFA Library was then closed with refreshments cum mingling session.


We thank, Ms Carol Sim, Ms Esther Choong, NAFA Library colleagues and students for hosting the LAS visit, and for making the visit, an enriching and delightful one for all of us.

Submitted by: Stephanie V. Budiman and Quek Tze Guek